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Study: Switch plans to avoid higher health law costs

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Associated Press

Washington – — Maybe an amiable gecko could help the Obama administration sell its health insurance overhaul.

In the long-running auto insurance commercials, the talkative little mascot promises you can save 15 percent if you switch insurers. Now a study says the most popular health law plans are raising premiums an average of 15 percent for 2016. You’ll have to switch if you want to pay less.

Wednesday’s research paper from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation comes as sign-up season for subsidized private coverage under President Barack Obama’s law is in its third week. Due to rising premiums, high out-of-pocket costs, and skeptical consumers, the administration faces challenges trying to grow the pool of people covered through the law’s online insurance markets.

The study looked at a type of coverage called the “lowest cost silver plan,” which is the health law’s most popular. Silver is the middle tier, and the lowest cost silver plan can be different in every community. The catch is, the lowest cost silver plan can also change every year. If your plan holds that distinction this year, odds are it won’t have it in 2016.

Dec. 15 is the last day to make changes or sign up for a new plan that would take effect Jan. 1. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31.